The seemingly tireless facility for jokes and comic self-deprecation can also be wearing. It risks a certain glibness, allowing Heisey to skate over the more serious concerns buried inside the book: the deep feelings of brokenness and loss that come in the wake of a failed relationship. These are often glimpsed, before inevitably giving way to a joke ... There’s certainly a breezy confidence to Heisey’s mode of storytelling via text messages and Tinder correspondence, but quickfire DM exchanges in an age of internet dating can also read like comedy sketches, obstructing the possibility of real insight. It’s a shame, since Heisey clearly recognises that for modern singletons navigating the online dating market.
Instinct for tone...is...conspicuously absent from Heisey’s work. The narrator, Maggie, has undoubtedly mastered the art of dry, cynical wit and, although the result is not exactly laugh-out-loud funny, it is often amusing ... It is quite painful, however, to constantly sit with Maggie’s self-lacerating thinly disguised as self-deprecating humour for extended passages, especially when tonally it tends to repeat the same note. By the time her friends have grown tired of her in the novel, the reader too is desperate for a change in gear and for some progression ... Heisey is excellent at producing these fragmentary asides that offer genuinely funny insights. These welcome interruptions of the narrator’s voice suggest that perhaps if the book had not been written exclusively from Maggie’s first-person perspective, that a greater dimension to the material may have been uncovered ... Heisey does deliver on the promise of an astute, comedic portrayal of Millennials’ existential anguish. For anyone feeling overwhelmed by the onset of adulthood looking different from the fantasy, Heisey offers an alternative to the cliched wisdom of elders and will definitely make you feel less alone, actually.
Empathy is at the heart of Monica Heisey’s debut novel, Really Good, Actually ... Maggie’s voice is engaging, allowing readers to feel her pain, cringe at her adventures and communication attempts, and root for her to find her footing ... There’s humor and grace in Really Good, Actually—a lightness of touch, a wry wit. Maggie is a woman disembarking from traditional romance to find herself. And while her marriage might have been short, her voice is enduring, and her journey is engaging, surprising and fresh.
Heisey’s portrayal of the joys and pitfalls of online dating will ring true, and Maggie’s self-deprecating, often snarky humor keeps the deeper themes of the story from getting too heavy. It’s a thoroughly modern take on 1990s chick lit, exaggeratedly over the top in the best possible way. Readers will cheer messy Maggie on as she stumbles inelegantly toward a happy, postdivorce life.
Appealing ... Even in its darkest moments the book is very funny, and Heisey’s inspired skewering of urban millennial life hits the mark. Readers will gobble up this Bridget Jones’s Diary for the smartphone era.
Novels about women who unravel somewhere around the age of 30 aren’t exactly rare, but this one stands out both because it’s laugh-out-loud funny and because of the artful way Heisey reveals that her heroine is most definitely not OK ... Her ultimate breakdown is inevitable, and she has to work hard to win back the trust of the people who love her most—and regain trust in herself. Maggie’s redemption is well earned ... Smart, bighearted, and hilarious.